Women’s softball splits doubleheader in Iowa

Blugold women’s softball trades wins against Central College

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The Blugolds competed in one doubleheader this weekend, after having one canceled on Friday.

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The Blugolds competed in one doubleheader this weekend, after having one canceled on Friday.

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The UW-Eau Claire women’s softball team traveled to Iowa for a weekend series, picking up a win and a defeat against Central College on Saturday in Pella.

In a battle of two top-20 teams, the no. 10-ranked Blugolds won game two of the doubleheader 4-2, while no. 17-ranked Central topped Eau Claire in the first game 3-2. The Blugolds’ tilt with Simpson College on Friday was cancelled due to inclement weather and will not be re-scheduled.

Sophomore catcher Brooke Varian said the Blugolds’ ability to keep their composure after suffering a game one loss propelled their victory for the day.

“I remember from last year we weren’t all able to keep our composure when we were either down or in a really tight game with tight situations,” Varian said. “Our ability to stay calm and focused in these kinds of games has gotten a lot better this season.”

The weather on Saturday was better suited for play as the Blugolds started off the scoring for the day via Varian’s double in the first inning of game one. Central answered in the second inning with a home run, tying the score at 1. Senior Leah Wolff brought the lead back to the Blugolds in the fifth inning with a single. However, Eau Claire could not hang on as the Dutch hit a two-run walk-off single with two outs in the bottom of the seventh.

Varian and Wolff led the way for Eau Claire, getting two and three hits, respectively, accounting for five of the team’s seven hits in the losing effort.

The Blugolds once again got on the scoreboard first in game two of the doubleheader, thanks to senior Evie Schaller’s bases-clearing 3-run double in the first inning. Central cut the deficit down to one, adding a run in both the third and fifth innings. Schaller closed the deal in the seventh with another RBI-double.

In addition to Schaller’s four-RBI outing, five other Blugolds contributed with at least one hit each. Senior Rachel Heffel was productive in the lead-off spot going 2-for-3 with a run scored. Heffel contributed the success to her teammates, specifically the pitching staff.

“I think our pitching was fantastic,” Heffel said. “They did everything they needed to do to give us our best chance to win. I also think that after the first game we all came back with a fire under our butts to take the second game. We stayed composed and played Blugold ball.”

Freshman Sarah Peka continued her perfect season, improving to 6-0 with the win. In five innings of work, Peka struck out one batter, allowed five hits and just one earned run. Freshman Cheyenne Johnson came on late to earn her second save of the season, producing two innings of no-hit ball.

Peka says the team’s focus is to keep pouring on the runs and to score as early and often as possible.

“Our strategy doesn’t change much,” Peka said. “Regardless of the opponent, we make it our goal to win the game within the game.”

As conference play looms, Peka says focusing on playing aggressively rather than defensively will be key. The 15-3 Blugolds’ first Wisconsin Intercollegiate Athletics Conference test is Wednesday as they host UW-River Falls.

 

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